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Public Policy and Management

Unit(s) of assessment: Business and Management Studies

School: Nottingham Business School


The Public Policy and Management team is interested in public management issues across the whole public sector at international, national, regional and local scales. It includes specialist research interests in central and local government, the healthcare sector, and the emergency services. It has a long-established interest in applied research and is widely known as a research exemplar for bridging the theory-practice divide. The group has been contributing to the three inter-disciplinary University-wide Strategic Research Themes with which the group actively engages, i.e. Sustainable Futures; Health and Wellbeing; and Safety and Security of Citizens and Communities.

The team embodies the University's commitment to providing research and scholarship with positive impact aligned with the University's social purpose. It produced one of the Business School's three impact case studies for the 2014 REF exercise and is currently developing several impact case studies, for the next REF and the one after.

Work by the team has appeared in leading public management academic and practice journals such as Public Policy and Administration, Local Government Studies, Public Management Review, Public Money and Management, the International Journal of Public Administration and the International Journal of Emergency Services. As a result of previous work on the English Fire and Rescue framework, and the Scottish government’s policy for Fire and Rescue Service, the team have been invited to comment on a new policy framework for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The Public Policy and Management team works with an extensive network of associates, visiting scholars and collaborators, within NTU and in the wider academic and practitioner communities. These associates contribute hugely to its outputs and to its influence in both academia and the public services.

The group has provided seminars and presentations to other research groups; advised and contributed to grant applications, strategies and potential research projects. Members have arranged research consultancies, contributed to conferences and seminars, and acted as coaches and mentors to early career researchers. The following is a list of some of the conferences and projects in which the group is involved in. The JUC Public Administration Conference, Bi-lateral Research Symposium with Sichuan University China, IRSPM Accounting and Finance Special Interest Group and Emergency Services Interest Group. Pete Murphy has spoken at an international conference at the House of Lords organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group relating to international Fire Safety Codes and Regulations.

NTU has also designated five Strategic Research Themes which are intended to promote and support interdisciplinary research across The University. The research group actively contributes to three of these themes;

Current Funding

  • Zara Whysall (CO-I) and Prof Jane Ching (PI) (NLS) has successfully received funding from Nottinghamshire Magistracy on Judicial Diversity. The award is for £10,000.
  • Sarah Pass (PI) NBS Seedcorn 2018 - The project has been awarded £2,154.
  • Dr Rowena Hill from Social Sciences, together with Pete Murphy and Katarzyna Lakoma, have been awarded £21k to research Integrated Risk Management Plan Methodologies by the National Fire Chiefs Council.
  • Petra Molthan-Hill and Michael Hewitt are about to commence their project ‘Transforming the Good Corporate Citizenship Assessment Sustainability Tool for the Health and Social Care Sector in the UK’ which is being funded (value £8,000 excl. VAT) by NHSS Scotland.
  • Nottingham CCG are reviewing how the integration of health and social care is progressing and have requested a report of the findings of Sarah Pass’s seedcorn funded project entitled “Overcoming the organisational barriers to the integration of Health and Social Care Services”.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent. The overall quality of each Unit of Assessment NTU submitted to REF in 2021 also saw an improvement from the previous REF in 2014.

Press Expertise

Professor Peter Murphy appears regularly on national and local media in relation to central and local government issues and in particular around local government financial arrangements. Gem Radio has interviewed Dr Peter Eckersley about Nottingham City Council’s latest climate change announcement to try and have a zero-carbon city by 2028. Dr Peter Eckersley has also contributed to the New Start Magazine comparing two councils – Newcastle upon Tyne and Gelsenkirchen in Germany – and studied how their ability to tackle climate change was impacted by central government.

Members of the group contribute to the academic and research community through articles posted on the blog ‘The Conversation’. Professor Pete Murphy has contributed with posts on Brexit, local government performance, fire and rescue services and regional austerity cuts. Dr Peter Eckersley has also contributed to The Conversation with posts on Brexit.


As our publications indicate, members of PPMG undertake collaborations with colleagues, both around the UK and globally.

Internal to NBS

The group is actively involved in several projects that fall under the remit of the Economic Strategy Research Bureau (ESRB) led by Will Rossiter. This year these initiatives have included economic development and strategy initiatives, such as the emerging Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine policy and proposals; the evaluation of the second phase of the Nottingham Tram and the development of the new governments' industrial strategy.  More details of these initiatives are available from ESRB.

External collaborations

Research by the PPMG research involves a number of UK and international collaborations. The following are some of the Groups closest or most recent collaborators.

The Central and Local Government Research Unit continue to maintain close working arrangements with the Social Policy, Sociology and Politics Groups in Social Science through James Hunter and Jason Pandya Woods have helped establish the Nottingham Civic Exchange think tank.

The group have worked closely with the Emergency Services Research Unit in Social Sciences most notably Dr Rowena Hill in relation to Fire and Rescue Services and at the annual Fire Related Research and Development conference. The group has also developed relationships with the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Services, the National Fire Chief’s Council, Nottinghamshire police service, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government, Northumbria Water Ltd, Scape Group, East Lancashire Health Trust, HMRC, and John Lewis. This has involved the development of relationships, meetings, and organisation of research (e.g. focus groups, interviews).

External University Collaborators

External Practice Based Collaborations

  • Centre for Public Scrutiny (contact Pete Murphy)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (contact Martin Jones)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (contact Pete Murphy)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (contact Pete Murphy)
  • Fire Sector Federation, (contact Pete Murphy)
  • Nottinghamshire FRS, (contact Pete Murphy)
  • National Fire Chiefs Council (contact Pete Murphy)
  • HMICFRS External academics research group (contact Pete Murphy)


Full details of all Public Policy and Management members' publications can be found via the Institutional Repository of Nottingham Trent University. An indicative list of papers by members includes:

  • Eckersley, P. and Tobin, P. 2019. The impact of austerity on policy capacity in local government. Policy & Politics, forthcoming.
  • Eckersley, P., Murphy, P. and Ferry, L. 2019. Local Government Finance and the 2019 Spending Review inquiry: submission to the House of Commons committee on Housing, Communities and Local Government. Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University.
  • Ferry, L. and Eckersley, P. 2019. Budgeting and governing for deficit reduction in the UK public sector: Act four – risk management arrangements. Public Money & Management, forthcoming.
  • Burns, C., Eckersley, P. and Tobin, P. 2019. EU environmental policy in times of crisis. Journal of European Public Policy, forthcoming.
  • Whysall, Z., Owtram, M. and Brittain, S. 2019. The new talent management challenges of industry 4.0.Journal of Management Development, 38(2), pp. 118-129.
  • Hewitt, M., Molthan-Hill, P., Lomax, R. and Baddley, J. 2018. Supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: reconceptualising a ‘sustainable development assessment tool’ for the health and care system in England. Perspectives in Public Health, 139(2), pp. 88-96.
  • Ferry, L. and Eckersley, P. 2018. Debate: Brexit and local government in England - the challenges ahead. Public Money & Management, 38(3), pp. 163-166.
  • Hewitt, M., Dingwall, R. and Turkmendag, I. 2017. More than research intermediaries: a descriptive study of the impact and value of learned societies in the UK social sciences. Science and Public Policy, 44(6), pp. 775-788.
  • Whysall, Z., Bowden, J. and Hewitt, M. 2018. Sickness presenteeism: measurement and management challenges. Ergonomics, 61(3), pp. 341-354.
  • Murphy, P., Eckersley, P. and Ferry, L. 2017. Accountability and transparency: police forces in England and Wales. Public Policy and Administration, 32(3), pp. 197-213.
  • Spencer, T., Hayden, J., Murphy, P. and Glennon, R. 2018. Stating the obvious: evaluating the state of public assurance in fire and rescue authorities in England. International Journal of Emergency Services, 8(1), pp. 20-33.
  • Matthews, R.L., MacCarthy, B.L. and Braziotis, C. 2017. Organisational Learning in SMEs: A Process Improvement Perspective. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 37(7), pp.970-1006.
  • Barton, H. and Matthews, R.L. 2017. An assessment of the impact of lean interventions within the UK Police Service. American Journal of Management, 17(2), p.9-22.
  • Matthews, R.L. and Marzec, P.E. 2017. Continuous, quality and process improvement: disintegrating and reintegrating operational improvement? Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 28(3-4), pp.296-317.
  • Harradine D., Murphy, P., Valero-Silva, N. and Prowle, M. 2016. An examination of the reasons that result in Emergency Department attendances, in contrast to alternative care and diagnostic options, for a defined Millennials/Generation Y population in Nottingham. Research report for Nottingham City CCG. Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University.
  • Hewitt, M., Dingwall, R. and Turkmendag, I. 2017. More than research intermediaries: a descriptive study of the impact and value of learned societies in the UK social sciences. Science and Public Policy, 44(6), pp. 775-788.
  • Murphy, P. 2016. A briefing paper on the Governments Single Departmental Plans 2015-2020 prepared for the National Audit Office as part of the national study. Confidential report for NAO. Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University.
  • Murphy, P. 2016. Ambulance services - a submission to the National Audit Office from the Joint Universities Emergency Research Group. Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University.
  • Murphy, P. and Greenhalgh, K. 2016. Joint University Research Group response to the Scottish Government consultation: Fire and rescue framework for Scotland 2016. Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.
  • Murphy, P., Harradine, D. and Cope, R. 2016. Evaluation of Phase 2 of the early discharge project of the ‘ASSIST’ team at Mansfield District Council. Research report for Mansfield and Ashfield CCG. Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University.
  • Rossiter, W., Bickerton, C., Canavan, R., Lawton, C. and Murphy, P. 2016. NET Phase Two local economic evaluation: report 2: impact evaluation findings: final report. Research report for Tramlink. Nottingham: Tramlink Nottingham.
  • Tse, Y.K., Matthews, R.L., Tan, K.H., Sato, Y. and Pongpanich, C. 2016. Unlocking Supply Chain Disruption Risk within the Thai Beverage Industry. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 116(1), pp.21-42.
  • Matthews, R.L., Tan, K.H., and Marzec, P.E. 2015. Organisational Ambidexterity within Process Improvement: An Exploratory Study of 4 Project-Oriented firms. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 26(4), pp. 458-476.

Research Monographs or Chapters

Related projects

Work done by the group often generates significant and far-reaching impact. Some of these works are listed below as well other significant projects.

  • Local Government Organisational and Financial Resilience – Written evidence (Peter Eckersley and Pete Murphy) and oral evidence (Pete Murphy) have been presented to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee of the House of Commons relating to Local Government Finance and the Spending Review 2019.
  • Local Government Organisational and Financial Resilience – Briefings and submissions produced for NAO reports by Pete Murphy and Peter Eckersley have been used as the basis for parliamentary enquiries by select Committees.
  • The Mansfield ASSIST project involving Pete Murphy and Michael Hewitt will contribute to the Health and Social Care Impact Case Study. This project won the NICE Shared Learning Award in 2017.
  • Health and Social Care – the evaluation/appraisal of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Health System Programme of the local NHS by Rebecca Larder, David Buchanan, Simone Jordan, Pete Murphy and Michael Hewitt.
  • Michael Hewitt’s contribution to the NHS 111 project has been implemented as part of the NHS England workforce governance guide.
  • Pete Murphy and Katarzyna Lakoma have been actively involved in multiple projects for the national and local fire and rescue.